Study in Germany: Frequently Asked Question
Recently, we’ve been getting inquiry about studying in Germany. Here’s a series of questions and their respective answer put together by our team to help you understand the process of studying in Germany.
This will depend on your study level, country of origin, and which state you study in. Tuition fees at all public universities were originally axed in 2014, but were reintroduced for non-EU/EEA students in the south-western state of Baden-Württemberg in autumn 2017.
These fees are set at €1,500 per semester – therefore coming to €3,000 per year (~US$3,440). Students obtaining a second degree will pay a reduced rate of €650 per semester, or €1,300 per year (~US$1,500). Students from Erasmus member states are exempt from these fees. Although no longer free, tuition fees are still far lower than other popular study destinations.
It’s possible that non-EU/EEA tuition fees will be reintroduced to other states in the coming years, but, for now, undergraduate-level tuition at all other public universities in Germany remains free of charge for all students, both in and outside the EU. You will, however, need to pay a nominal administration fee per semester, which is typically no more than €250 (~US$225).
For postgraduate students, however, tuition fees still exist. These fees may be avoided (or cut dramatically) if you have already graduated from an undergraduate program in Germany in the last few years. If you studied in another country at undergraduate level, you are classed as a non-consecutive student and will need to pay tuition fees, which will vary between universities and courses.
All universities in Germany offer internationally recognized degrees. A BA or a BSc (Bachelor of Arts/ Bachelor of Science) will usually take six semesters (three years) to complete, and these are the
most common undergraduate degrees.
For postgraduate studies, an MA or MSc (Master of Arts / Master of Science) will take two-four semesters (one-two years) and a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) will last four-six semesters (two-three years).
You can study medicine for free at any public university in Germany, but will need to have a strong knowledge of both German and English, among other requirements. Medical training programs in Germany are not split into bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and will take at least six years and three months to complete. Spaces are very competitive, with many more applicants than places. You can read more about the requirements, application process, program structure and more in our article How to Study Medicine in Germany.
For prospective undergraduate students, a high-school diploma, school-leaving certificate or university entrance exam result is usually sufficient. For postgraduate programs, students need to provide an undergraduate degree certificate.
Usually, if your qualification would allow you entry into higher education in your home country, it will also be sufficient to allow you to apply to German universities. To check whether your current qualifications are recognized for study in Germany, use the form on this page.
If you wish to undertake a program being taught in German (the teaching language of most undergraduate programs in Germany), you will also need to prove your German proficiency (see question five below for more information).
In addition to German-language proficiency and an entrance qualification, you may also need to meet the specific entry requirements of your chosen university program. These requirements depend on the reputation of the school and of the program, and can be found by looking at the program information in the university’s prospectus or online.
The language of instruction at most universities in Germany is German. All students undertaking a German-taught program will need to be able to demonstrate a firm knowledge of the language, either by means of a language test result or by taking a preparatory course. If you are only studying in Germany for one or two semesters you may not need to provide this evidence.
If you have a limited knowledge of German, you could consider taking an English-language program. There are a growing number of English-taught programs at universities in Germany, particularly at postgraduate level. If you are a non-native English speaker, you may be required to provide proof of your English-language proficiency with a TOEFL or IELTS result. If your chosen school requires this, they will list proof of English-language proficiency as an entry requirement.
However, even if you do study in Germany in English, it’s advisable to learn the basics of the German language to enable you to communicate more effectively with the local residents.
If we haven’t answered your question, please either ask us in the comments at the bottom of this page or post your question in our international student forum.